Just over a month after TCL debuted its first Fire TV Smart TVs in the US with the release of the premium TCL Q6 Class 4K QLED Fire TVs, the TV manufacturer is now releasing new budget-friendly 4K Fire TV sets. TCL’s S4 Class TVs, which were previously only available as Roku and Google TV models, are now available with the Fire TV operating system in a slew of sizes ranging from 43-inches to 75-inches.
The new budget-focused TCL S4 Class 4K Fire TVs are quite similar to the more premium Q6 Class QLED 4K Fire TVs released in June. The main difference is in the screens used for each model with the S4 using a standard LCD panel and the Q6 using a QLED panel for improved color reproduction. Both are direct-lit LED TVs, so there’s no difference in backlight technology, but I expect the Q6 to have a higher peak brightness. When I asked for the peak brightness values for each size, I was told “TCL does not typically publish or release this information,” so it is probably safe to assume the brightness figures are quite low. Another difference is the absence of HDR10+ support on the S4, which the Q6 has, but the S4 does support Dolby Vision as well as regular HDR10 and HLG flavors of dynamic range formats. Both TVs also have a 60 Hz native refresh rate with TCL’s “Motion Rate 120” frame interpolation which simulates 120 Hz screens.
Port selection and connectivity between the S4 and Q6 Fire TVs are nearly identical with the only difference being a single USB 2.0 port on the TCL S4 Class Fire TVs and two USB ports on the Q6 models. TCL has stuck with three HDMI ports, of which at least one is HDMI 2.1 with ARC/eARC support, a composite video port, optical audio out, and a 3.5mm headphone audio out for all of its Fire TVs. Connectivity includes WiFi 5 dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, a 10/100 Ethernet wired connection, and Bluetooth 5. All S4 TV screen sizes include a pair of 10W speakers, except the 75-inch size which bumps the speaker power to 15W.
Powering the TCL S4 Class Fire TVs is the same Amlogic T962x3 processor as the Q6 Class TVS, which uses a quad-core Cortex-A55 CPU running at 1.9GHz and a Mali-G31 running at 800MHz. Considering these are budget-oriented TVs, it’s nice not to see the slower MediaTek MT9020 T31 quad-core 1.5GHz processor used in most Fire TV Smart TVs. The usual combo of 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and Fire OS 7, which is based on Android 9 Pie, is present as well. Casting options come in the form of Apple Airplay2 and Miracast.
The new TCL S4 Class Fire TVs are currently available in sizes of 50″ for $299.99, 55″ for $319.99, 65″ for $449.99, and 75″ for $649.99. There will also be a 43″ size for around $249.99 at some point, but that product page isn’t live at this time. Compared to the list prices of the Q6 Class Fire TVs, these new S4 models are about $150 less expensive, which is a fairly significant discount considering how little you give up by going with the new budget-friendly models.